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Friday morning Cardinal news and notes

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We’re close enough to the end of summer that Braxton Hunley can see the light of the the 2017-18 athletic season.

Donovan Mitchell (Utah Jazz, SG, No. 13 overall pick)

Predicted Rookie Stats: 11.8 points, 2.0 assists, 1.2 steals, 41.0 percent FG, 33.0 percent 3PT

Mitchell is making a case as the summer league's top two-way player.

He just exploded for 37 points and eight steals against the Memphis Grizzlies, having played with his signature aggression at both ends.

Known for his microwave scoring at Louisville, Mitchell has showcased his advanced perimeter shot-making. He's hit deep threes and contested jumpers, and he's shown the ability to create them with nifty ball-handling and footwork.

Flashes of playmaking (13 assists, five games) suggest he could eventually receive opportunities to initiate the Utah Jazz offense or facilitate off ball screens.

The most pleasant surprise has been his defensive activity that's led to 22 steals in five games. He's made and lost gambles, but he's also won a fair share and converted them into easy points. He's pressured opponents—including the bigger Jayson Tatum—into turnovers and loss of confidence.

He'll bring an exciting punch of athleticism and firepower to a backcourt now led by Ricky Rubio. Coach Quin Snyder will want to use Mitchell right away.

"We like that he likes to defend," Snyder told the Desert News' Jody Genessy. "The competitor in him will allow him to play early in his career."

If Rodney Hood and Dante Exum struggle, they could be in danger of losing minutes to Utah's rookie.

  • Meet the 5-star recruits who will define the 2018 hoops class.
  • I am very excited about Anfernee Simons, and you should be too.
  • Also, how do those kids not think that there’s a whistle in their game every five seconds?
  • Simons talks about the game of fellow U of L commit Courtney Ramey with Jeff Greer.
  • On the Banks updates us on the progress Kyle Bolin has been making in his quest to be Rutgers’s starting quarterback this season.
  • Happy birthday, Ale8.
  • Lamar continues to play down the fact that he has a chance to become just the second two-time Heisman winner ever.

Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson didn’t start last season thinking about winning the Heisman Trophy. It just ended up that way.

Of course Jackson had a lot to do with outcome, thanks to his dizzying array of open-field moves and downfield throws.

Jackson figures it’s a good approach to start this year, too, even with the chance to become only the second player to repeat as a Heisman winner.

“I love the game of football,” Jackson said Thursday during the Atlantic Coast Conference’s preseason media days. “I didn’t think I would win the Heisman Trophy — it just happened, just playing football. And that’s what I’m doing this year.

“I’m trying to win games and win a national championship. That’s the biggest thing to me.”

  • Dalvin Cook’s younger brother, James, has decommitted from Florida State and re-opened his recruitment. Word is Louisville is right in the mix for the four-star running back out of Miami.
  • Kerry Rhodes was an animal. I just wish there was one more highlight in this video.
  • The Daily Press says Louisville and NC State are looking to close the gap between them and Clemson and Florida State. I get what they’re trying to say, buuuuuut ... I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out that Louisville destroyed Florida State and finished tied with Clemson at 7-1 in the Atlantic last year. I think lumping U of L in with the Wolfpack right now — a team they’ve never lost to or not finished above since joining the ACC — is a bit misguided.
  • Lamar is already thinking about Governor’s Cup revenge.
  • USA Today says Lamar is new and improved. I’d be fine with “just the same but with some added maturity a better offensive line in front of him.”
  • The dawn of Brendan McKay’s professional career is upon us.
  • The Palm Beach Post says Lamar Jackson is ready for the next big step.
  • Rivals says Jackson’s success has put Louisville on the recruiting map in Florida. I’m pretty sure they were already there. In fact I know they were, because Jackson said he committed to Louisville because he watched Teddy Bridgewater — another Florida kid — destroy the Florida Gators in the Sugar Bowl.
  • Not so much bold as it is accurate.

“I’m very excited. We played there and it was very loud. Their fans were all into the game. It’s our turn now so it should be a great game,” Heisman winner Lamar Jackson said Thursday at the ACC Kickoff event.

...

“We’ve got to transition into this year and turn it into motivation,” Jackson said. “We felt like it was our year last year. We’ve just got to play.”

Louisville cornerback Jaire Alexander, who had two interceptions and forced a fumble last year at Clemson, is also anxious to face the Tigers.

“Papa John’s will be rocking,” Alexander said. “Big time players make big plays in big games. That’s what we were looking forward to doing… We need our fans to be in it, and we just need to play just like how we played the last few quarters (in 2016) the whole game.”

Ever since December, when it was Jackson who took center stage in New York City as the winner of college football’s most prestigious honor instead of Deshaun Watson, social media has become an entirely different animal for Louisville’s quarterback.

Clemson fans in particular have heckled the 20-year-old junior over the Internet, reminding him of the score between the Tigers and Cardinals last season at Death Valley and making it explicitly clear they believe Watson was snubbed.

“They all get blocked, though. I block ‘em,” Jackson quipped Thursday at the ACC’s Kickoff event. “Keep your opinions to yourselves. The voters made the decision. I didn’t.”

Imagine a national championship not being satisfying enough to keep you from tweeting shit to a 19-year-old whose team lost to your team.

  • The Champaign/Urbana News-Gazette has Louisville at No. 18 in its preseason countdown.
  • This kid can do it all, folks.
  • All four of Rivals’ national recruiting experts currently predict that Romeo Langford will sign with Louisville. I’m not getting my hopes up, but that would be very, very cool.
  • What happens when Jim Boeheim calls your radio show minutes after you talked about him? Brent Axe can tell you.
  • You don’t need charts to know that Lamar Jackson was ridiculous in 2016, but people are going to make them anyway.
  • Louisville non-conference opponent legend/Western Kentucky Hilltopper Pancake Thomas signed a professional deal on Thursday.
  • There’s another option?
  • And finally, congrats to Drew Bailey, James Hears and Jaire Alexander for making the preseason watch list for the Nagurski Award.